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‘No repeat of fuel shortage in Salalah Festival’

Dhofar Municipality chairman promises a different experience for visitors this time

Gulf News

Muscat: The organisers of the Salalah Tourism Festival (STF) have assured elaborate arrangements to ensure enough fuel supply during the 26-day festivities that will start from the second day of Eid Al Fitr.

In August last year, the Eid rush created a fuel shortage in Salalah as well as adjoining towns and inconvenienced a large number of visitors during the Eid holidays.

“We have learnt our lesson from the unprecedented rush last year,” Shaikh Salim Bin Oufait Al Shanfari, Chairman of Dhofar Municipality, said while addressing the media on Tuesday in Salalah, about 100km south of Muscat.

He went on to say that they were working in close co-ordination with all the concerned departments to offer an entirely different experience to visitors from neighbouring GCC countries and also to those from other parts of the world.

“We have requested the petrol stations connecting Salalah to Muscat and in other directions to raise their storage capacity and to work in close co-ordination with all the stakeholders to avoid any fuel shortage throughout the festival,” he told government-owned English daily Oman Daily Observer.

The other problem faced by visitors last year was availability of rooms. “There are more rooms available this year and we are hoping to manage the guest flow in a better way this year,” he said.

Last year there was an increase of 3.4 per cent in visitors to Salalah during the Khareef season despite a slow start due to Ramadan occurring in the early months of the season. Overall a total of 351,195 people visited Salalah from June 21 to September 21 in 2012, compared to 339,500 during the same period in 2011.

With temperatures dropping in Oman’s southern region during the STF and more direct flights to Salalah available, a larger influx of tourists is expected this year.

Al Shanfari also said that this year’s festival will include a number of events and activities, such as lectures in different fields like religious, scientific and culture. “The Cultural Village will host a number of events, including a competition among provinces and performances by traditional troupes from across Oman and the other GCC countries.”

This year’s festival will also see an exhibition under the title ‘Oman the Land of Friendship and Peace’.

“Several new facilities and services have been added to the Municipality Recreational Centre to meet the needs of the visitors,” he said, adding that the centre will have banking, health and ambulance services.